Artistic Director Of See Your Shadow Songwriting Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman of See Your Shadow – Songwriter, musician and producer, Michael Coleman is the artistic director of #1 iTunes charting ensemble, See Your Shadow. His work has been featured in film, television and sporting events and Michael has been profiled and featured on radio stations both nationally and internationally.
What drew you to the music industry?
What drew me to the music industry probably was my lifelong love of music in general. I have always had a passion for the arts and I do a lot of different things in the arts, but music has always been my flagship. I have a decent size record, tape and cd collection that goes back to my childhood and music has always just been such an important part of my life. When I decided to pursue a career in the arts, I knew that songwriting was going to be the direction that I wanted to go because I always had a knack for prose and verse and that just seemed like a logical direction.
Who are you inspired by?
This is a really good question and the answer is actually a who and a what at the same time. I am really inspired by the human experience and that is what really permeates every aspect of all the art that I create. There are so many stories and I am constantly fascinated by people and the journey they take to either get to where they are or to become who they are. I am that guy that will be at the back of a crowded room and just watch and listen to what goes on around me.
Please explain your creative process.
Well my creative process depends on the project. Sometimes things just come to me out of the blue and I run with it, like the song, “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello”, the idea for that literally just came to me out of nowhere. The current single, “My Worth” started with drinks and an old pair of bongos and our upcoming record, “Christmas on Cellblock 9”, I actually sat down and set out to do a lighthearted holiday record. Once I get an idea, I am very meticulous in the process of bringing it to life. When I go into the studio, I have everything all mapped out with a full agenda, so much so that if I need my singers to sing a line 20 times, I literally hand them a lead sheet with the phrase written out 20 times.
What’s an average day like for you?
Well nowadays in the time of Covid-19 everyday seems to be running into the other. I am an early riser and I do work a lot with people on the east coast, so I tend to get up around 4 or 5 in the morning, check my e-mail, check the Trades, check in with the fans. The good thing is with Covid and the cooler weather here in Arizona, all of this is done poolside. One of the things that is constant though is that everyday wraps up with cocktails in the pool watching Jeopardy.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Although at times some of our material can be filled with a lot to symbolism, I wouldn’t say that there is a hidden meaning in any of the work See Your Shadow creates. I think our songs paint a clear picture. I always tell people that if they really want to know about me as a man, it is all shown in the work that I create. All the many sides of what makes The Metropolitan Cowboy up are reflected all throughout the projects that I create. The serious, the fun, the outrageous, the insane, the loving and the pain, I put the total depth into the work.
Do you collaborate with others? What is that process?
I love to collaborate and collaboration is the foundation of See Your Shadow. We are a collaborative network. How this process generally works is that I’ll encounter someone who I think is really talented or they will encounter me, and we will start to vibe and that will form the foundation. It has to come organically, and I find that I collaborate best with those that have the overwhelming passion for show business that I have. All good collaborations start with a deep exchange of talking and listening and then build from there.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans.
I love interacting with our fans. I am an open book with the fans and all my contact information is open to the public and I always encourage fans to reach out to me on social media. Facebook is my preferred platform and you can’t miss The Metropolitan Cowboy brand when you key in my name. You never know where your next friend is coming from and how interacting with someone can make all the difference in both your lives.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why?
My favorite part about this line of work is that you just never know how the work you create will have an impact on someone and that the art that is created ties all of those involved in its creation together forever. I look back on some of the projects that I have done and some of the people have passed on and to have that reminder, something tangible is really meaningful.
What I like least is that executives and so called experts seem to never be able to embrace things that have not been done before. Innovation isn’t celebrated, its more demonized.
Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
Oh sure. All the time and not because I get nervous, but I always just want everything in a production to go off without a hitch. Like I mentioned earlier, I tend to be obsessive over the details and I am the kind of show producer that will have everything all planned out with a Plan A, B and C in case something goes wrong.
Tell me about your favorite performance venues.
I like small, more intimate venues and honkytonks. Before Covid hit we were filming a game show in a small theater that was in the back of a bar and it was really cool to have that kind of intimacy and interaction with our audience. You just have so much more fun when you can connect with your audience on that level and it makes you more accessible and relatable to your fans.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
There are a few things that I think are very important for someone who would want to follow in my footsteps. Always be true to who you are as an artist and make no apologies for the art you create, be professional and always carry yourself like you are a star and do so with realness and humility and the first rule of show business, BE ON TIME.